The Oklahoma State Department of Health says 345 people have been hospitalized and eight persons have died in Oklahoma this flu season.
Three people in Tulsa County have died from the flu. Flu has killed one person in Creek, Mayes, Muskogee, Pittsburg, and Rogers counties. Hundreds of hospitalizations have been reported statewide.
Public health officials say the best way to protect against flu is to get the flu vaccine. Many local county health departments, pharmacies and health care providers still have vaccine and health officials urge all persons 6 months of age and older to get the vaccine to protect themselves and those around them from influenza, especially babies too young to receive a vaccination.
Health officials warn you can spread the flu before you even realize you’re sick. Flu symptoms include:
•Fever (although not everyone with flu will have a fever)
•Runny or stuffy nose
Certain people are at greater risk of serious flu-related complications, including young children, elderly persons, pregnant women and people with some long-term medical conditions. If you are in a high risk group and develop flu symptoms, it’s best for you to contact your health care provider.
Health care providers will determine whether influenza testing and possible treatment are needed. Your provider may prescribe antiviral drugs that can treat the flu. These drugs work better for treatment the sooner they are started, ideally within 48 hours of noticing symptoms.
Parents should be aware of children with emergency warning signs of flu including the following:
•Fast breathing or trouble breathing
•Bluish skin color
•Not drinking enough fluids
•Not waking up or not interacting
•Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
•Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
•Fever with a rash
Parents and caregivers should seek medical help right away for any infant who is unable to eat, has trouble breathing, has no tears when crying, and has significantly fewer wet diapers than normal.
Adults who have should seek medical attention if they have difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion, severe or persistent vomiting, and flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and a worse cough.
If you do become sick with flu symptoms, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other things you have to do and no one else can do for you. Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine, such as acetaminophen.
You should stay home from work, school, travel, shopping, social events, and public gatherings. Remember to cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and wash your hands often to keep from spreading flu to others.